Times 28491 – intellectual activity required.

I found this one tricky, harder than last Wednesday’s which scored a 136 on the SNITCH, but I hadn’t thought was that hard. We shall see.
I was misled a couple of times, which added time to my 35 minute solve, and I’m not convinced I’ve fully explained the parsing of ANKH. Read on…

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics

1 Very English place seeing off a large expedition (8)
VELOCITY – V(ery) E(nglish) LOCALITY losing A L.
5 Area of intellectual activity affected our group (6)
CAMPUS – CAMP = affected, US = our group. Area of daft woke activity, more like.
10 Backing of French in group quickly pursuing holiday place to stay (3,3,9)
BED AND BREAKFAST – BAND (group) with DE (of in French) reversed inserted, then BREAK = holiday, FAST = quickly.
11 Fellows back in area — remote, rockygetting measure of wind (10)
ANEMOMETER – MEN (fellows) reversed inside A (REMOTE)*. Device for measuring wind speed, from Greek anemos, wind.
13 Went over cruel hill (4)
FELL – Triple definition.
15 What stand-up comedian may do, having a symbolic impact (7)
TOTEMIC – A comedian might TOTE a MIC(rophone).
17 Pay for accommodation for thief (7)
FOOTPAD – FOOT (pay for) PAD (accommodation).
18 Sculptors possibly recalled pose in pieces lacking head (7)
ARTISTS – SIT (pose) reversed inside (P)ARTS.
19 We will need security about source of messages here (7)
WEBMAIL – WE, BAIL (security) with M (“source” of messages) inside.
21 Bring round article held by apple grower (4)
COAX – A inside COX, abbr. for Cox’s Orange Pippin tree.
22 Ghastly party securing state in California, America (10)
CADAVEROUS – CA (California) DO (party), insert AVER (state) add US (America).
25 Place is buzzing: politician’s beginning significant dodgy argument (7,8)
SPECIAL PLEADING – (PLACE IS)*, P (politician’s beginning) LEADING (significant). I didn’t know this phrase exactly but knew it was something to do with the law and courts; apparently it also just means an argument which ignores contrary facts to make a case.
27 Separate account in heartless conclusion (6)
DETACH – AC inside DE(A)TH = heartless conclusion.
28 Seabird captured in cold season not showing wings: one’s caged as a precaution (8)
INTERNEE – the answer was obvious enough, but I got a little side-tracked trying to sort out a combination of (W)INTE(R) and the TERN seabird. Then I realised I had the wrong bird! An ERNE is a Sea Eagle, so it’s INT(ERNE)E, where the INTE is winter without wings.
1 Set up to keep brain active and lively (7)
VIBRANT – here, SET = TV; reverse it and insert (BRAIN)*.
2 Boy removing nothing from large quantity (3)
LAD – LOAD loses its O.
3 Right-winger supporting obscurity, not rocking the boat (10)
CONFORMIST – CON(servative) FOR (supporting) MIST (obscurity).
4 Propose bill supported by Liberal European (5)
TABLE – TAB = bill, L(iberal), E(uropean). Table as in table an amendment.
6 Religious symbol carried by Khan repeatedly (4)
ANKH – well, KHAN is an anagram of ANKH, so is “repeatedly” the anagrind? I can’t see another way to explain it, but what is “carried” there for? An ANKH is a symbol like a cross with a loop on top, a symbol of life from Egyptian mythology. EDIT it’s hidden in a repeat of KHAN, as pointed out below by wise people. KHAN KHAN.
7 Pay lone pair to rehash instrument from the 1920s? (6-5)
8 Was ahead after several games, needing extra time? Agreed (7)
SETTLED – SET (several games e.g. tennis) T(ime) LED (was ahead).
9 Herbal remedy: always fine with small quantity about (8)
FEVERFEW – EVER F(ine) inside FEW = small quantity.
12 Condition accepted by each bloke in property job (6,5)
ESTATE AGENT – STATE (condition) inside EA GENT.
14 Historic garment design getting no initial surprised reaction (6,4)
DOUBLE TAKE – DOUBLET is the historic garment, (M)AKE = design with no initial letter.
16 Injured person’s left for time without adequate attention? (8)
CASUALLY – I had this the wrong way round for a while, making it harder to see 25a, but then S*E*I*T wasn’t offering me a word and it had to be SPECIAL, so I realised my error. CASUALTY has the T swapped for an L (left for time).
18 Charged, but doomed to lose power ultimately (7)
ACCUSED – ACCURSED (doomed) loses R (end of power).
20 Italian food — the way to circumvent depression (7)
LASAGNE – LANE (way) has SAG (depression) inside.
23 Literary lion using a lot of dodgy language? (5)
ASLAN – A, SLAN(G) = a lot of dodgy language. As in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis. Which I confess I’ve never read, and never shall.
24 Image of sun is captured in revolutionary data storage medium (4)
DISC – IS inside CD reversed.
26 Hotel popular around November (3)
INN – N(ovember) inside IN = popular.


71 comments on “Times 28491 – intellectual activity required.”

  1. I parse 6d as a hidden if KHAN taken twice , i.e. Khan Khan. This is a well hidden hidden.

  2. If you repeat Khan, you get Khankhan which includes the answer. Bit contrived IMO.

  3. Re 6D:

    If Khan were written repeatedly, i.e. Khan Khan, it would contain the hidden word ANKH. Quite a nice conceit I don’t remember having seen before.

    1. I too didn’t see the previous comments! Oh, well… Rather apposite repetition, I suppose.

  4. Talking of hiddens, where is Horryd? Has he been incarcerated by the Chinese authorities for his non-conformist comments?

    1. Re Horryd, I have been wondering the same over the past few days. I will make enquiries.

  5. 54:29 with a couple of errors. I thought “Apple grower” was a clever cryptic for ADAM, I still don’t see what “grower” is doing in the clue. This led to “amassed” for ACCUSED, the only thing to fit.

    Also struggled to make INTERNEE work with TERN. Also made heavy work of CADAVEROUS, with various US states being tried with CAL. No trouble with ANKH, which is one of the letters in Tutankhamen.

    Pleased to guess the NHO FEVERFEW, although FEVERFLY was in the running, with “fly” = small amount. But don’t see VELOCITY = expedition, what’s that about?


    1. “Expedition” as in “speed” – expiditing the process gives it more velocity.

      I was another TERN struggler, but generally enjoyed this one and found it not too difficult. 19:49 – enjoyed figuring out CADAVEROUS.

    1. Thanks for the hint on velocity=expedition, I found it in the OED. The most recent quote is from Thomas Jefferson, and it’s a good one: referring to US Congress he said,

      “How can expedition be expected from a body which we have saddled with an hundred lawyers, whose trade is talking.”

  6. 22:05
    I had the wrong bird, too, and didn’t figure out the parsing until after submitting. Also biffed 10ac BED AND BREAKFAST, 25ac SPECIAL PLEADING, parsed post-submission. DNK COX, but assumed that he grew apples. (Come to think of it, I may have heard of Cox apples.) I considered ANKH immediately from the A, and rejected it, only to accept it finally faute de mieux; Corymbia (et al.) has the right reading.

  7. 33 minutes. DOUBLE TAKE was the sting in the tail that took me out over half an hour, but along the way I couldn’t parse ANKH and lazily bunged in INTERNEE with the wrong ‘Seabird’. I liked VELOCITY for ‘expedition’ and the triple def for FELL.

  8. It did take me a while to get started on this one, finding the right level of concentration. The clue for ANKH had me rubbing my eyes (well, I’ve only very recently started doing the Mephisto), but it had to be. Got that one pretty early, and I didn’t find anything to object to as I progressed. FOOTPAD was a guess—I just imagined coming across the word in a detective story (of course, it’s quite possible we’ve had it before). COAX was POI, guessing the COX connection, and last DETACH. 1A and D both were the two right before that—I had all the right side finished before much at all on the left, but I don’t think that has anything to do with relative difficulty.

    And I’m with you, Pip, on the fantasies of C.S. Lewis. But their popularity has made knowing ASLAN inescapable. Of course, there was no possibility “literary lion” could have been meant non-punningly.

    (I was a bit surprised by your curmudgeonly comment on CAMPUS, though.)

    1. Well, I read it non-punnigly at first, having the L and N in place. There’s a hidden literary lion in “dodgy language”, Nobel laureate Dylan. Except he’s still alive, so I did a double-take. Then noticed the errant G.

      1. Haha. My mind wandered down that path too. Where I also encountered Mr. Thomas… though the clue clearly requires a last name, if not referring to a mononymic personality… AUDEN came to mind. But no, no, I have to be reminded of a goofy Xian allegory. But it’s a nice enough puzzle that I can forgive it that.

  9. Mostly on the wavelength, zipped through the bulk of it – including seeing ANKH immediately and liking it – before held up by the last few. NHP or barely-known FEVERFEW and ASLAN were two, CADAVEROUS, WEBMAIL and DOUBLE TAKE the others. Also unsure of SPECIAL PLEADING, but had typed it in. I find clues like “historical garment” pretty rough (pretty ruff?). No complaints though, good puzzle.

  10. 40 minutes. I started very well and made good progress but by the time I reached the final SW quarter I was crawling along. Unless there’s a particular reference I’m unaware of (more than likely) I thought that DISC for ‘image of sun’ was bit weak. DNK ANKH but spotted the device immediately because I had the K-checker in place. CADAVEROUS took some squeezing out from wordplay – I had not been expecting ‘ghastly’ to be taken quite so literally. I knew Cox (my favourite variety of apple when I can get hold of them) but I took far too long to think of him.

  11. 42m 12s
    I found this entertaining but I had to revisit a couple of clues. I biffed CONFORMITY in 3d and had to revisit that. And in 19ac I wanted the solution to include WE’LL (“we will”).
    Like others I thought the seabird in 28ac was a TERN. I see them most days while out walking my dog. never seen an ERNE.
    Thank you, Corymbia for ANKH!
    My one query was with SAG = depression; but I suppose it can be a noun as well as a verb.
    I wonder if our setter had run out of steam by the time they reached 26d!
    Thank you, Pip!

  12. “Without adequate attention…” hmm, it was only after I fixed my CASUALTY at 16d that I finally made it through this one – first in a while, as I’ve been having my annual bout of seasonally-induced can’t-be-bothered-to-try-hard syndrome. Maybe this marks the turning point.

    Mostly seemed fairly straightforward and enjoyable, though I did get bogged down towards the end – finishing sequence 16d fix – SPECIAL P – ASLAN. The latter, along with FEVERFEW both seemed rather improbable words, but the cryptic provided no other reasonable choices. 37:17. A belated happy 2023 to all – thanks P and setter.

  13. Gershwin played Rhapsody in Blue
    In a style that was VIBRANT and new
    Which recorded, and so
    His talent can still be heard too

  14. 47 minutes with LOI FELL. I suppose a stand up comedian does TOTE a MIC but I don’t think he’d get many laughs if he said so. For some obscure reason, I seem to recall the Fat Owl of the Remove falling out of a tree on top of a footpad, thereby rescuing Quelch from what we’d now call a mugging. Quite tough, but fair, Thank you Pip and setter.

  15. DNF. Completely defeated by ANKH – not knowing the word didn’t help, but I would never have figured out that cryptic device either.

    Enjoyable enough otherwise, with the wordplay helping me get words I didn’t know (ANEMOMETER, FEVERFEW, FOOTPAD).

  16. 16:45. Like others I took a wrong TERN in INTERNEE, but eventually managed to see that is was an ERNE that was needed.
    Seeing ASLAN reminds me that I found a lion and a witch in my wardrobe recently. When I asked what they were doing they said it’s Narnia business.
    I’ll get my coat.

  17. My bad week continues. Gave up after the hour with FOOTPAD(NHO), WEBMAIL, DOUBLE TAKE, CADAVAROUS and PLEADING all unentered.

    Maybe my brain is still in Xmas, I.e. lazy, mode.

    Thanks Pip.

  18. 17:17. I got stuck for 3 or 4 minutes at the end by initially thinking 24D might be the hidden GYLAN ( the famous writer, perhaps? Er… no). Only after abandoning assuming 22A had to be D……OUS (it didn’t) did I see CADAVEROUS and fixed it. I wondered why PLAYER PIANO was described as a 1920’s instrument as it was invented well before that. Or am I missing some reference that pegs it to that decade?

    1. I wondered too about PLAYER-PIANO as actually it was during the early 1920s that its popularity peaked having been invented around the turn of the century. The increasing availability of the gramophone did for it.

  19. 16:13

    This was largely straightforward but I was thrown off course a little here and there. Like others I took too long to see the ERNE from the TERN and spotting PIANOLA in the anagrist for 7 got me in a tizzy, despite it being too long to be the first word.

    I also hesitated over ASLAN. I’ve never read the Narnia books but knew the name of the lion, but having once had an interview with an IT company called AZLAN (short for the A to Z of Local Area Networks) who had a lion as their logo I was unsure of the spelling.

    Speaking of “clever” company names with literary connotations, my younger daughter has just started working for a toxic waste disposal company called Augean.

    1. Augean used to be one of my clients.

      There was a competition to name a new waste company years ago. They gave a ‘booby’ prize to someone who offered ‘Hop, skip and dump’.

  20. ANKH defeated me, too. NHO the word and I’d never have got the clueing.

    Otherwise pretty easy, I thought. Liked FELL and TOTEMIC.

  21. 31 mins, felt a bit like pulling teeth, although I got there eventually. Chief holdups were the wrong bird and the apple grower, which was LOI after finally getting ACCURSED clue. NHO PLAYER PIANO, but FEVERFEW easy from my health shop days. It’s more taken for migraines than for fever.

  22. I agree with George. Fairly straightforward and no real issues. It took me 25 enjoyable minutes.
    FOI – FELL
    LOI – COAX
    COD – Several contenders for this, including CAMPUS, TOTEMIC and SPECIAL PLEADING.
    I was not sure about the connection between ‘ghastly’ and ‘cadaverous’ though I suppose there is an etymological relationship with ‘ghost’. I also hit on ‘tern’ as the bird needed in 28ac until later parsing put me right.
    Thanks to setter and commentators.

  23. 10:53, watch us tote the mic, watch us tote the mic, psyche (as Ant and Dec nearly sang). Some good stuff here which caused brief head scratching, usually to justify the parsing of what turned out to be correct stabs at the right answer.

  24. These poor setters are really up against it. As soon as they come up with a new device, like the one that gives ANKH, they’re criticised. I thought it was rather good. My problem was with WEBMAIL, where I was fixated on the security being a wall, and just couldn’t think of a word that fitted. SPECIAL PLEADING in the everyday sense, if there is one, is surely not necessarily a dodgy argument. If a child accused by its mother of doing something makes a special plea that they weren’t there at all so couldn’t have done it, it’s a special plea and doesn’t seem dodgy to me. 45 minutes, after going fairly quickly but then becoming bogged down in the CASUALLY-S P – WEBMAIL – DOUBLE TAKE area.

  25. Late again today, still ill. ASLAN is Turkish for ‘lion’. The Narnia books should be required reading for all ages. ANKH as a word brings to mind Terry Pratchett.

    22′, thanks Pip and setter.

  26. 22:38. Definitely on the tougher side. Missed the TERNE/ERNE difficulty in my haste to bung in the answer from a quick glance at the clue, abetted by generous crossers. B and B, the wind measurer, the ghastly CADAVEROUS and several others went in on the same basis. LOI VELOCITY slowed me up as I racked my brains for the wrong sort of expedition.

  27. Started with TABLE and BED AND BREAKFAST, then got progressively more bogged down as I traversed the grid. Eventually finished with CADAVEROUS after much pondering. I did manage to parse ANKH, but got the wrong bird in 28a, despite trying to do something with (w)INTE(r), so just biffed and moved on. 33:42. Thanks setter and Pip.

  28. Nowadays each disparate group seems to ACCUSE all the others of SPECIAL PLEADING and vice versa. Decades ago as an 8 year-old I saved up my precious Christmas and birthday book tokens to buy the Narnia books. I recently re-read them with my grandchildren in mind and thought – oh no I don’t think so. I still love the illustrations. 19.23

    1. For someone who’s never read them, why are they, “Oh, no, I don’t think so”?
      Genuinely intrigued.

      1. I felt that my grandchildren would find the children too dated and priggish and not really believable. You never know, one of them my find his/her own way to the books one day but I didn’t want to push them. I too read them as adventures, oblivious of any theme.

  29. 26:54

    Couldn’t have told you what an ANEMOMETER (a word that’s hard to say quickly) or SPECIAL PLEADING might be, but both FELL into place without too much thought. FEVERFEW – I feel I’ve heard before but don’t know in what context – again the parsing was kind.

    No problem with ANKH having spent time in Egypt, and consequently saw the trick immediately, knowing the answer that I was looking for in the parsing.

    Didn’t quite get VELOCITY being a definition for expedition, so thanks for the elucidation.

  30. Wasn’t convinced that “getting measure of wind” is the right part of speech for ANEMOMETER unless I’m missing something? Was held up by TYPESET instead of TOTEMIC (a stand up comic might type up a set, and to typeset is to have a “symbolic impact”)

  31. 47:55, last 4/5 clues seemed to take an age, LOI COAX after an alphabet trawl. I enjoyed the Narnia books both when growing up (although have to admit the Christian allegory kind of passed me by), and reading them to my eldest daughter when she was age 7/8 or so. Thanks s & b

  32. 23:03 – a rare “faster than Times average” for me. For whatever reason the right words seemed to come to mind, with the only long-ish pause at the end for COAX and ACCUSED.

    I liked ANKH – as has been mentioned above it’s nice to see a novel device and the answer was obvious enough that I didn’t think it unreasonable to puzzle out.

    Thanks all.

  33. The bad start to 2023 continues. I saw the ANKH device- NHO the word, and the ERNE clue. However, I had biffed in VIBRATO at 1d, and that mucked up the comedian’s MIC clue. I didn’t realise FELL could mean cruel.
    I would never have got ASLAN with looking it up- I was diverted by ‘the lion and Albert’, but that lion was called Wallace.
    At some point I hope it will all start coming together again.

  34. Generally speaking, I enjoy it when a little of the personality of the bloggers here is revealed. However, I’d rather be in a state of “ignorance is bliss” re the bloggers’ personalities than read that crass comment by today’s blogger on the CAMPUS clue. I’m very disappointed to read such nonsense on this website.

  35. 15.00. Nice puzzle. Mostly plain sailing. Minor hold up at ankh where I had to avoid the hidden anre in favour of the hidden hidden. Also dithered at velocity where I struggled to see past allocate for place giving me velocate, it took a while to square the -ocity bit of it with locality, just a bit of a brain freeze on that one.

  36. No time recorded for this as it was completed in two sessions with lunch in between, but estimated at about an hour. I thought I had completed everything with only ANKH unparsed (thank you various parties for the explanation), but no ….
    Having not read the relevant book, I decided that GYLAN was the literary lion which of course meant that my last one in was never going to be CADAVEROUS. I managed to fit in GANGRENOUS assuming Reno was a state in California. Hey Ho, close but no cigar!

  37. 9:37, no dramas. No unknowns today although FOOTPAD was only vaguely familiar and I only learned ANEMOMETER from a crossword a year or two back.
    I read the Narnia books (or some of them at least) when I was a kid but none of mine took to them.
    Daft woke activity in university campuses is something that occurs almost exclusively in the pages of the Daily Telegraph and the Comment section of the New York Times.

  38. Lollygagging 13:32 for this after zippy 2:42 on QC. Hold-ups in various places meant never got in true rhythm despite some early biffing (notably B’n’B) working out well.
    ANKH device not so unusual but good to see on the back page (so to speak); could it have been combined with DOUBLE TAKE to make real whizzbang wordplay?
    Final hiccough came with biffed CALAMITOUS which had to be rectumfried before I could make further (final) push to the Summit.
    All best to one and all for 2023.

  39. 33:05 but I would have done better if I hadn’t convinced myself that a PEARLY PIANO was a thing. Maybe the one where you play da-da-da-da-da-da oi!

  40. The word “Ankh” always reminds me of the film “Logan’s Run”, from which I learnt the word in the first place.
    Nice puzzle today – I’m another that couldn’t see the “Erne” for the “Tern” and I wondered if there was an error in the clue (apologies, Setter).

  41. 17ac : I’ve a quibble here over the use of “foot” . It only occurs in this sense in the phrase “foot the bill” and cannot really be used alone to mean “pay for”. In any case it would be pay and not pay for.
    PS piquet – ditto Narnia et Al for me!

  42. Defeated by Aslan 23d – DOH!
    DNK webmail.
    Surprised so many DNK 9d Feverfew. Thought it was common, and to be honest I thought Fever Tree tonic was actually feverfew tonic.

  43. No time as done in chunks today during driving breaks, but a very enjoyable puzzle, I thought. Didn’t know ANKH but liked the inventive wordplay, and FEVERFEW was also unknown: the EVERF was obvious, but I needed the W to crack it. And I liked the use of ‘expedition’ as a definition for VELOCITY, even more so having read Merlin’s comment above. Surely ANEMOMETER is a measurer of wind, not a measure?

  44. Thought I’d try this before the QC today. Managed all bar VELOCITY, VIBRANT and DOUBLE TAKE in around an hour, although several biffs along the way. FOOTPAD, SPECIAL PLEADING and VELOCITY were unknown to me, although the latter makes perfect sense now I’ve seen the blog. Also didn’t fully parse FELL, wondering about ‘cruel’ but now fully understanding ‘one fell swoop’, perhaps for the first time. Enjoyed coming close to finishing a 15 x 15! Many thanks all.

  45. Defeated by Aslan. Also, having convinced myself that God was the apple grower didn’t help.

  46. Oh dear, another DNF, defeated by DOUBLE TAKE which I should have seen and WEBMAIL which I don’t care about. Did not know that FELL could mean cruel (as in one fell swoop) but it was clear enough that it was a triple definition. Thanks for the blog.

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